New Jersey's 30th Legislative District

Senator Robert Singer

Senator Bob Singer
Senator Jim Holzapfel

Now Law: Holzapfel/Singer Bill to Protect Animals from Cruel Pet Owners

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Governor Christie has signed legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Jim Holzapfel and Robert Singer to protect pets from being victimized by their owners.

Legislation sponsored by Sens. Jim Holzapfel and Bob Singer to protect pets from inhumane treatment was signed by Gov. Christie on Aug. 7, 2017. (©

The law, S-1640, addresses several cruel practices related to keeping a pet at a home, including exposure to adverse weather, improper tethering and inadequate shelter.

“You would hope that pet owners would treat their animals with decency and provide them with a safe and healthy home environment, but sadly, that isn’t always the case,” Senator Holzapfel (R-Ocean) said. “We must protect these animals and show that this kind of treatment will not be tolerated.”

“Pet ownership can provide a lifetime of love and companionship, but it comes with a lot responsibility,” Senator Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) said. “If someone can’t follow these simple rules and treat their pets humanely on their own, we need strong rules to enforce them and the ability rescue animals from cruelty.”

S-1640 also establishes penalties for violations and permits humane societies and municipalities to take custody of an animal that’s been subject to cruel treatment after providing due warning to its owner.

Under the legislation, it is unlawful to expose any pet or service animal to adverse weather conditions, such as temperatures colder than 33 degrees or hotter than 89 degrees for more than 30 minutes unless the animal has continuous access to proper shelter. S-1640 also makes it unlawful to cruelly restrain a dog.

In addition, the law provides that when state or local officials issue an order of evacuation due to weather or other emergency conditions, the owner must make every attempt to evacuate their pets and not leave their animals indoors or outdoors while unattended or tethered.

“On behalf of Friends of Animals United-New Jersey, I want to thank Senator Jim Holzapfel, Asm. Dave Wolfe and Asm. Greg McGuckin for their unwavering support for this legislation,” Janice Fisher (FAUN NJ) said. “New Jersey residents want humane care of animals and animal cruelty officers will now be able to do their job more effectively.”

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Gov. Christie’s decision to sign S1640, a measure desperately needed in our state to ensure companion animals are entitled to proper shelter and treatment while outdoors,” Brian Hackett, New Jersey State Director of the Humane Society, said. “We especially thank Senators Holzapfel and Van Drew for their strong leadership on this common-sense animal protection bill, as well as the bill’s many other sponsors and supporters. We appreciate the dedication of our friends at the ASPCA and other animal protection organizations who helped make this a success. Thanks to these elected officials and the broad coalition of NJ animal protection advocates, our state will no longer tolerate innocent animals who deserve responsible human stewardship being left out to die in the elements.”

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